In our previous blog posts we wrote about the night brace, what it costs and how it works. People often mix up a night brace and fixed retention wire. But a night brace and fixed retention wire deal with two different problems. At SmileDesigner we always use a night brace and, if possible, a fixed retention wire too.

A fixed retention wire is a metal thread fixed to the back of the front four to six teeth. It ensures that the teeth stay in place after you remove your brace. A night brace, on the other hand, is a clear plastic cover that you place over your teeth. As you sleep, the night brace ensures that your teeth remain straight and in the right position. Both devices keep your teeth in place after you stop wearing your brace.

Retention-wire inside a patients mouth

We often get asked what the difference is between a night brace and a fixed retention wire. To answer this question, we’ve listed the various pros and cons of both.


The pros and cons of a fixed retention wire


The retention wire is fixed so you don’t have to remember to wear it.

The fixed retention wire is permanent which means it does its work 24/7.


A fixed retention wire can make brushing your teeth a bit more tricky. This can result in the formation of hardened plague (tartar).

A loose wire has to be repaired as quickly as possible.

A fixed retention wire may not always be an option. For example if you have a deep bite. Or if you have small teeth, fillings or crowns.

A fixed retention wire only keeps the front four to six teeth straight.

The pros and cons of a night brace


You only have to put the night brace in at night, making it easier to brush your teeth.

A night brace is almost always an option, even if you have a deep bite.

The night brace goes over all your teeth so they are all kept in the right position.

A night brace is easy to keep clean.


It’s easy to forget to put the brace in.
Once you’ve completed your treatment, your orthodontist can advise you which retention device is best for your specific needs: a fixed retention wire or a night brace. We sometimes recommend both.

Still have unanswered questions?

Read our posts in which we go into more detail about night braces. We’ll shortly publish a post putting the fixed retention wire in the spotlight. Or give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.